Commonplace Book

Joseph Roth in “The Radetzky March” on aristocratic principles

“The morals of the time were, as we know, severe. But exceptions were made, often with alacrity. This was one of a handful of aristocratic principles, according to which ordinary citizens were second-class people, but the occasional middle-class officer was made personal equerry to the Emperor; according to which Jews were barred from claiming high honours, but the odd Jew was ennobled, and hobnobbed with archdukes; according to which women were expected to be first chaste and then faithful, but this or that particular woman was afforded a cavalry officer’s licence to love. (All these principles we like to call hypocritical today, because we are so much more unyielding, implacable and deadly earnest.)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s